Most people know that the entrepreneurial crowd live in a world of extremes as they start-up their businesses. To me, start-up does not mean a 3 to 6 month period. Honestly, the start-up phase is something that can last years. The trough between launch and sustained success is a time for developing, exploring, experimenting, failing, learning from failures, starting over and completing the cycle all over again for those who are developing new products and services tailored to our customers. Some days you feel like the fire winged Jennifer Lawrence with her deadly bow and arrow in The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part II movie poster. And other days, lets just say you DON’T.
If you have not been around this up and down it can feel someone like cracking a long whip over and over again – trust me when I tell you it takes a lot out of a person (and their spouse… I am considering nominating my husband for sainthood). It’s kind of like life in that… joy and love and great friendship would not be so cherished and feel so utterly divine had we not known pain, loss, challenge, defeat and anger.
I thought I would step out of my comfort zone and share my thoughts on one of my “HIGH LIFE” moments today.
A little more than a year after starting, I got my letter from the US Trademark Office today. It arrived in a moment of pressure to juggle demands and complete future client proposals (hey, I am not complaining… just trying to figure out how to work smarter and faster). As of today, we are THE ENERGY CFO®. That’s is an “R in a circle” if you don’t have your magnifier available.
It’s been a long journey, I will spare you the sharp curves, flat tires, and my frustration with the perceived lack of consistency in the application of rules by the Trademark office. At this moment, I feel like a race car driver who has been forced to drive in first gear. Finally…I get to wrap my little hands around that stick shift, hit that gas, and floor that baby as I shift down into 4th gear. Feel the roar of the engine and the force of being dragged forward as it rapidly accelerates. What is she driving you ask?
Yep, all that from a standard US Trademark letter. Incredible right? I am sure you are asking either a) is she bipolar or b) what meds is this woman taking (answer: neither, just finished a nice walk with the dogs inhaling our clean cold South Texas air!). I am actually chuckling as I am writing this …nervous laughter really… I am kind of shocked that I actually feel this way (I am not a teenage driver) and trying to reconcile or balance that with my rational analytical CFO self. Well, that’s how it feels for me when things finally do go your way after such a long and hard journey. It is what it is.
The letter completely lifted my spirits (I am generally optimistic and can do so I am really feeling HIGH). You see, I started this firm from nothing. I have banged on doors. I have lost count how many times I have pitched to others. Oh, the worst is a the handful of folks who have actually offered unsolicited advice that I just make it easier on myself and just go join another firm (OUCH!) and build an entrepreneurial finance practice FOR SOMEONE ELSE.
I have learned I have 10X to 20X more strength, determination, and creative ideas (so called white space) inside my mind than I ever thought possible. Days like today make you feel proud, they build confidence in your hard work, and the decisions about where to invest your cash. Actually, I see this happen in clients too. Its feels good to be a part of that.
Over the years I have had quite a few folks comment on the name of my firm. The Energy CFO is simple. The Energy CFO is really clear – well, that is unless you are one of my technology clients. They can’t believe I thought of it (HONESTLY, NEITHER CAN I). Nor can they believe I actually got it (and well, now you know how I feel about it)! I wish I had thought of it sooner, I could have started a firm in my 30’s instead of my early 40’s. I say that but truth be told - I GOT WAY MORE ENERGY NOW THAN I EVER DID - ITS THE HIGH LIFE!
I am so grateful to my buddy Katie Mehnert for her awesome intellectual property referral. I am also quite grateful to intellectual property attorney (if you want her name just email me). She did not take NO for an answer. She put more research together, she went back and made a convincing case, and I am happy with the solution. I feel like I got a great deal!